BC Centre for Disease Control naloxone kit (Darryl Dick/The Canadian Press)

Almost 14,000 Canadians killed by opioids since 2016: new national study

17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning

New numbers released Wednesday show close to 14,000 Canadians have been killed by opioids over the last four years and more than 17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning.

The data is in a new report from a national advisory committee struck to study the epidemic of opioid overdoses in Canada.

Canada’s chief public-health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, and Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, issued a joint statement saying many of the deaths were caused by Canada’s illegal drug supply being contaminated with toxic substances.

The say fentanyl and other very potent synthetic opioids continue to be a major cause of hospitalizations and deaths.

The data also shows thousands of Canadians continue to have non-fatal overdoses each year and hundreds of thousands more are affected by problematic substance use.

In their statement, Tam and Shahab say the opioid overdose crisis is a complex problem that will take time to turn around.

“To have a significant and lasting impact, we need to continue working together on whole-of-society changes,” they say. ”This includes addressing the stigma that surrounds substance use, implementing further harm-reduction measures and reducing barriers to treatment. It also means continuing to work together to better understand and address the drivers of this crisis, such as mental illness, and social and economic factors that put Canadians at increased risk.”

Western Canada continues to be the most affected by the opioid crisis, but Ontario has also seen a rise in opioid-related deaths, according to the data.

Also, 94 per cent of opioid deaths in the first six months of this year were accidental, Health Canada says.

READ MORE: Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

READ MORE: Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Funds raised through off-road cycling event will help improve Central Saanich bike trails

Tripleshot Cycling Club presents $3,000 cheque to Nature Trails Society

B.C. Green Party interim leader to visit Wet’suwet’en camps

MLA Adam Olsen stands behind First Nations

Keating Elementry receiving earthquake upgrades

Seismic upgrades help better protect students in the event of an earthquake.

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

SOOKE HISTORY: Remembering Salvatore (Sam) Pasta

Salvatore (Sam) Pasta lived life to the fullest

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Most Read